If you're a fan of the famous French wine, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but don't want to spend a fortune on a bottle, there are plenty of alternatives that will give you a similar taste and style.
Here are 6 wines that are similar to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, all at different price points so you can find one that fits your budget.
From spicy reds with ripe black fruit flavors to wines that age extremely well, there's something for everyone in this list. So next time you're looking for a great bottle of wine that will impress your friends, give one of these wines a try.
1. Domaine Maby, La Fermade, Lirac, Rhône
Like the Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the Lirac wines are made from grapes that are grown in the same climate and soil in the Rhône region of France. Lirac wine uses grapes that have been grown with the help of galets. These are large stones that are placed around the plants to utilize the heat of the sun to grow them.
A family-owned estate in Tavel dating back to the early 19th century, Domaine Maby is a family-run business. After expanding its vineyards into the region of Lirac in the 1960s, the winery began to reach its full potential.
Fermented and aged with 40-year-old grapevines, the La Fermade is a medium to full-bodied dark red blend. The smell contains violet and black fruit while the taste consists of black cherry, wet stone, baking spice, and cassis.
2. Skinner, Smithereens
Another great alternative to Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the Smithereens Red from Skinner vineyards in El Dorado, California. A blend of Grenache and Marsanne, this is the local version that is patterned after those in the French Rhône.
In 1861, James Skinner bought and started the Skinner winery in El Dorado California, and is now one of the oldest continuous wineries within the United States. Currently helmed by James Skinner’s great, great, grandson, the winery had been out of the hands of the family for quite some time before returning.
With a light nose and a heavy dose of plum in the pallet, this wine is a great choice for those looking for something a bit on the lighter side compared to the traditionally heavy Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
3. Domaine Gayda, Villa Mon Rêve, Minervois, La Livinière
The Domaine Gayda, Villa Mon Rêve is a Syrah from the La Livinière, Minervois region of France. The winery sits completely on a northeast-facing, sloped mountain with a limestone base. The vineyards themselves are situated at approximately 250m above sea level.
The incredibly deep nose in this blend is full of blackcurrants, dark chocolate, and savory earth. The nose is dark and the palate compliments it with immediate black pepper and garrigue and a long finish with over-ripened red fruits.
Enjoyable in both fresh and aged varieties, this wine has a light tannin and is highly concentrated.
The wine is named “Villa Mon Rêve” after a little stone cottage that is situated near the vineyards. The story goes that an old man bought the cottage for his sick wife so she would be able to enjoy the countryside and rolling grapevines in her last days.
Alas, the man’s wife made a recovery and lived her long days in the place she loved. Though I can’t verify the story, the wine is a delicious alternative if you’re looking for a slightly more affordable wine like Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
4. Coume del Mas, Quadratur, Collioure, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Created in 2001 by Nathalie and Philippe Gard, the Coume del Mas is a great alternative to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Coume del Mas is grown on steep slopes in the far southwestern corner of France around Banyuls Sur Mer.
Quadratur is a dark red and wonderfully full-bodied wine made from Carignan, Grenache Noir, and Mourvèdre. This blend features delicious notes of spices, dark fruits, earth, and wild herbs. As such, this is a fantastic wine for pairing with roasted meats and hearty stews.
5. Gramercy Cellars, Lower East Syrah
Another variety of red wine that is a great alternative to Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the Lower East Syrah from Gramercy Cellars. The Rhône inspired lineup from Gramercy Cellars has been the talk of all wine articles for the past few years and it's no surprise why.
After moving from New York to Walla Walla Washington in 2005, the Harrington family started what is now one of the best-selling red blends in the United States. The Lower East Syrah is their flagship product and still the best seller from the vineyard.
This deep red wine has all of the features that you could want in a Syrah. The nose contains blackberries, dried herbs, and a hint of black pepper. The palate comes with black cherry, red raspberries, and purple flowers.
With a strong alcohol content and high tannins this wine pairs great with heavy dinners such as roasts, stews, and risottos.
6. Mas Bécha, La Bergerie du Camps de Nyils, Côtes du Roussillon, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
My last recommendation for wines like Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France and is also the most expensive as well.
La Bergerie du Camps de Nyils is made with pre-fermented grapes and Syrah. The dark red is complemented by Mourvèdre and Grenache. This variety is aged to perfection for 12 months over medium heating.
The nose contains blackberries, plums, incense, and dried cranberries. The combination is amazing and draws you right in. The palate comes with dark chocolate and licorice with a hint of stone. The tannins do linger on this full-bodied red blend.
Located in Nyls-Ponteilla, in Roussillon, Charles Perez has managed Mas Bécha since 2008. With over 25 hectares of vines. Perez farms in a strict, organic manner, and the quality of the product shows. The vineyard is situated on fertile ground with limestone subsoils on the Aspres terroir.
Not only does Perez use olive, almond, and cork oak trees to create more biodiversity in his vineyards, he also contracts a new artist yearly to create bottle labels for the brand.
Why Look for an Alternative to Châteauneuf-du-Pape?
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is one of the most famous red wine blends from the southern Rhône region of France.
The wine is a spicy red with ripe black fruit flavors. The experience is intense, with a full body and more often than not, high alcohol levels. As a result, the style is increasingly balanced and nuanced.
Creating this wine is becoming an increasingly difficult task for winemakers due to a hotter, drier, and more unpredictable climate.
The most popular varieties of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are the Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Though there are 22 varieties permitted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape gets its jam-like profile and high alcohol levels from the Grenache. The dark color and smooth texture of the grape are also the reason that this great wine ages extremely well.
While the price tag for Châteauneuf-du-Pape is also quite high, there are thankfully many different alternatives that provide a similar style of wine at a more consumer-friendly price point.
I hope one of these 6 wines turns out to be the perfect alternative to Châteauneuf-du-Pape for you!